MBA still searching for answers

By : Jamie Hyman
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Orlando – The Metropolitan Business Association is in talks with police about pursuing charges against Mikael Audebert, its former president, but the organization has not yet made the move.

Audebert resigned from the MBA in October and was fired from his post as executive director of Come Out With Pride in November. Since then, the MBA Board and its subsidiary organizations have revealed a financial mess, blaming Audebert, and told Watermark Dec. 2 they planned to go to the authorities with their findings of alleged financial fraud.

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Issue 21.25: The Leather Community

By : Jake Stevens
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Brotherhood Redefined: Florida’s Leather Community is multifaceted, ever-evolving, and probably not at all what you expected, Orlando’s MBA may pursue fraud charges against former president, St. Pete commemorates World AIDS Day, It’s time to be ‘Out at the Asolo’ in Sarasota, local news, celebrity interviews, and much, much more!

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Issue 21.23: Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center

By : Jake Stevens
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A peek behind the curtain: The Dr. Phillips Center brings Orlando’s arts into the 21st century with its grand opening this month, Inside: Our Annual Holiday Guide, MBA fires Orlando Pride director, suspends board, LGBT Welcome Center opens in St. Pete, Scott edges out Crist in governor’s race, local news, celebrity interviews, and much, much more!

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MBA president steps down

By : Staff Report
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Orlando – Metropolitan Business Association of Orlando board president Mikael Audebert announced Oct. 7 that he is resigning from the position. He has held the post for the past two years and joined the board five years ago.

“The primary reason for this move is the increased demands of the other rapidly growing organizations for which I am also responsible, Come Out With Pride, Converge and the Wedding Alliance, all of which I will continue to serve,” Audebert said in an email.

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Overheard in Orlando: Raise your glass Ivanhoe

By : Anonymous
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Liquor Store at Ivanhoe, a go?
The owners of Savoy Orlando have their fingers crossed as they wait for two final inspections to pass so they can to open the Ivanhoe Wine and Spirits. The new venture will be a fully stocked liquor store in the heart of the Ivanhoe district that promises competitive pricing on a very good selection of beers, wine and liquor. If all goes as planned a grand opening will be set for some time mid-July.

Cock of the walk
The Peacock Lounge opened as one of the first ambiguous unofficial gay bars in town followed by Lava, Sip, the Hammered Lamb and now St. Matthews Pub. Never really claiming to be an LGBT establishment, the lounge originally had a primarily large Gay following with its original drink menu consisting of trendy martinis and lots of great art on the walls, It certainly brought a different vibe to the Orlando nightlife. Now, after 14 years of hard work, David Rich sold his share of the bar to his business partner Carmen. The Peacock Lounge still offers great drinks, fabulous art but certainly a more diversified crowd that in its early years. No feathers were ruffled in the transition and we wish David all the best in his future endeavors.

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Overheard in Orlando: Wanzie dances you away

By : Anonymous
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Good Morning Baltimore
It’s a cliché, but there literally wasn’t a dry eye in the house as Orlando said good-bye to Ron Legler and Andrew Springer at The Abbey on April 1. The beloved couple is moving to Baltimore, where Legler has accepted a position as president of the 2,300-seat Hippodrome Theatre at the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center. And Baltimore was a recurring theme during the party attended by more than 300 well-wishers. Legler’s co-workers at the Florida Theatrical Association and True Marketing starred in a hilariously reworked music video of “Good Morning Baltimore” from the musical Hairspray. The Orlando Repertory Theatre also performed a song from Hairspray before a string of downtown Orlando VIPs read a Top Ten List of reasons the couple shouldn’t move to Baltimore. Andrea Canny had Legler and Springer reaching for handkerchiefs with her stirring rendition of “Someone Like You” from Jekyll and Hyde—Legler’s favorite song. Then a relaxed and funny Mayor Buddy Dyer presented his friends with the Key to the City. When Legler and Springer joined him on stage, they were so moved they could barely speak. The next day Legler thanked everyone on Facebook and noted that the first Broadway touring show he’ll oversee at the Hippodrome, opening next week, is… Hairspray.

Learn velvet moves from Michael Wanzie 
Rumor has it that Michael Wanzie has the moves. The actor, producer, director and all-around talent has added ballroom dance instructor to his current repertoire. In a past life, he had the men and women at the Arthur Murray dance studio in a tizzy. He also choreographed for competition. Wanzie’s Ballroom Dance Crash Course is a series of three, six-week classes that began April 7 and will run through the summer. Gay, straight, single, coupled—all are welcome and encouraged. Classes will be held at The Venue. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for cocktails and class begins at 7 p.m. Classes will focus on the fox trot, rhumba and waltz, cha-cha, mambo, swing/jive and swing hustle and the tango and samba. Each series is $50 per person or $95 per couple. To sign up, visit Wanzie.com or email WanzieMichael@gmail.com.

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Overheard in Orlando: Animal lovers

By : Anonymous
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The story of Nina Simone (the rescue cat, not the jazz singer)
Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan and her rescue cat Nina Simone appear in a video on YouTube to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Paws in the Park, a festival to benefit the SPCA of Central Florida. The event, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8 at Lake Eola Park, begins with a benefit walk. Pet vendors will surround the lake, Animal Planet’s Victoria Stilwell will make an appearance at the Disney Amphitheater and Splash Dogs will provide entertainment with their dock diving competition. The Dogs of Anarchy will host a flyball competition. Have your dog microchipped for $10 thanks to 24PetWatch. For more information, visit OrlandoPets.org/PawsinthePark. To hear the story of Nina Simone, go to YouTube.com/user/SPCAF.

Speak now or forever hold your peace
When Leslie Chambers had doubts about whether she should marry her once-gay boyfriend Alan Chambers on their wedding day, she asked God for guidance. Chambers, who penned a blog post recently about the experience, said she asked God to interfere with the 1998 nuptials if she had somehow missed the mark. “Because the day proceeded with only minor hiccups (like our hired Roles Royce not showing up to take us from the church to the reception and a lit candle flying out of a candelabra), I married Alan and have never doubted whether it was the right thing to do. I trusted God and my relationship with God,” Chambers wrote. Alan Chambers, with whom she now has two children, is the founder of Exodus International, an organization that tried to straighten out hundreds of gay men with religion and guilt. Last summer, Alan Chambers dismantled Exodus and apologized, admitting that he hurt people with his reparative therapy. Though he believes gay sex is a sin, he has said that a person’s choice of sex partner in a personal one. Though Chambers said he still struggles with same-sex attraction, he loves his wife and is committed to her and their marriage. The couple celebrated their 15th anniversary in 2013.

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Mikael Audebert: Meet Orlando’s Most Remarkable Person of 2013

By : Stephen Miller
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Orlando French transplant Mikael Audebert has made quite a distinct mark on the Central Florida LGBT community, especially in the last four years. He has held the position of Executive Director of Come Out With Pride (COWP) the last three years, as the event ballooned from 80,000 to 120,000 attendees, making it a premiere national and international celebration. He is also now the President of Metropolitan Business Association (MBA), a group that helps build LGBT work equality and business. Finally, he also runs Converge, the official LGBT conventions and visitors’ bureau for Orlando.

“America is the land where you can turn a failure into a dream,” Audebert said.

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Mayor Jacobs, Commissioner Sheehan sign Orlando Pride proclamations

By : Staff Report
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Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan have both signed proclamations in support of Come Out With Pride, Orlando’s Pride festival slated for October.

See the proclamations after the jump:

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